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Showing posts from August, 2015

SimplyCircle: An all-in-one app to manage parent communication

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Today we have a special guest post from the folks from SimplyCircle. You have to check this App out!  Now that school has started, have you decided how you’re going to communicate with parents? Keeping parents informed about what is happening in the class will get them more engaged. Plus, you can get more help from them in the classroom, if you do it right. Many teachers still use email or paper flyers to communicate with parents. But emails can get stuck in spam folders, or get “buried” in an overflowing inbox. And a paper flyer may never make it home at all, or get turned into a paper airplane within minutes. As a result, teachers don’t get the parent engagement they need, despite all of their efforts to communicate. Other teachers combine many different single-purpose tools – texting for messaging individual parents, mass emails for parent updates, a photo sharing service for sending photos, and online sign up sheets to get volunteers for their classroom. But usin

3 Ways to Use Google to Engage Students

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This past weekend, I gave a webinar titled 10 Ways to Engage Students Using Google. Research on Universal Design for Learning from CAST has given a recipe for increasing student engagement: Recruit Their Interest Give Them Options for Effort and Persistence Give Them Options for Self-Regulation I wanted to take a moment to share three tools you can use to engage students using Google:  # 1: Google Trends Have you ever asked your students to do research on current events? "I don't know what to find," is the response that I most often got while I was in the classroom. Why not use Google Trends ? This free tool gives students real-time information on what topics are trending across the globe.  #2: Google Hot Trends If your students are more visually inclined, then Hot Trends provides them with a visual representation of topics in real-time. This is the perfect visual tool to see what is trending. #3: Google Custom Search Engine Students often

7 MORE Inexpensive Ways to Hack Your Way into the School Year

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Teachers spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets each year because there is not enough money in their budget to provide for student needs. How can serve our students without depleting our entire income for this upcoming school year? Here are some of your ideas to hack your way into the school year: # 1 - Make Your Own Scratch-Off Tickets  Have you ever thought about making your own scratch-off tickets? Students can use scratch-off tickets for reward systems, seating arrangements, and quiz questions. My good friend Bryan Dean makes his own scratch off tickets with a few drops of dishwasher soap for every 1/8 cup of silver acrylic paint. Then apply your scratch-off paint with contact paper to laminate paper or white paper. Once it is dry, your students are ready scratch off. #2 - What Do Old Detergent Caps and Pencils Have in Common? Encourage your friends, family, or your student's parents to save their old detergent caps. You can use them as desktop holde

3 Inexpensive Ways to Hack Your Way into the School Year

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Teachers spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets each year because there is not enough money in their budget to provide for student needs. How can serve our students without depleting our entire income for this upcoming school year? Here are some low-tech hacks to help your students.  1. Dollar Store Table Cloths No money for fancy bulletin boards? Plastic table cloths from the dollar store make the perfect bulletin board covers.  Need a green screen? Hunter green table cloths make the best backgrounds for green screens. Are your students creating paper characters to appear on your video? Avoid using your hands and use green straws from Starbucks. They are invisible on your green screen. 2. No Desks? Pizza Anyone?  I talked with a teacher a few days ago, who told me that she has more students than desks. Apparently in her school district, there are not enough desks for students. How can she solve this problem? I told her to visit her nearest pizza parlor a

3 Ways You Can Creatively Engage Parents This Year

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Engaging parents is tough - especially in the fast-paced technology-driven society that we live in. Here are three creative ways to connect with parents, so that they are engaged in your classroom this fall! 1. Class News by Students, for Parents How often have you been frustrated by the lack of response from your weekly newsletter or email blast to parents? The key is to get your students involved because parents are more likely to watch if their child is the "star." Use iMovie, Movenote , and even Screencast-o-matic (screencast) to create a movie and publish it on YouTube or Vimeo Create your own podcast on a program like AudioBoom or Voice Record Pro As a side note, this is a great way to share homework assignments with students and parents. Many parents struggle with helping their child complete homework because they struggle to understand the directions or content. Create your own YouTube Channel with a brief screencast of  2. Circle it Up with Simply

Less Ibuprofen, More Noise Down!

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The first day of school is coming soon to a school near you. We all know what that means! Learning, excitement, and NOISE. Noise isn't such a bad thing, but how can you keep your students at a manageable noise level? An excellent FREE tool is called the Noise Down App for iOS . This simple to use App helps you manage the noise in your classroom and even your home. How does it work?  Use Noise Down to measure the current noise level in decibels and set your maximum decibel limit. As soon as someone goes over the limit, an alarm sounds! Students (and your own kids) now cannot say that they were not being too loud! The proof is in the App. Not only will this tool help decrease your Ibuprofen intake, but it will help your students learn how to manage their sound levels inside the classroom. What a great self-regulation tool to have literally in your pocket!

Ziggedy an Excellent Option for the Cash-Strapped Classroom

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Unfortunately we live in a time where funding is one of the biggest barriers towards helping students learn. Teachers often tap into their own pockets to help students learn. What if there was a better way? If you were at ISTE this past year, you may have run into an amazing company called Ziggedy, which specializes in helping teachers raise money for their classrooms. How does it work? You create a free Ziggedy teacher account. NO FINANCIAL INFORMATION NEEDED! Get your supporters (parents, family, and friends) to find your name on Ziggedy and create a free account too.  Login to Ziggedy, then visit one of  3,500 of your favorite online retailer's websites like Target, Kohls, Best Buy, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart! Because you logged into Ziggedy, they are  notified anytime you buy X amount of dollars (no financial / credit card information is shared) from X retailer.  The retailer gives Ziggedy a commission and Ziggedy splits the commission with your classroom in need.